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The teachers’ unions are an odd bird in America. They are the only group we refer to as a classic profession that are unionized to negotiate for higher pay and benefits.

At one time, teachers needed the union. Now, it has become weapon to bludgeon lawmakers to fall into line.

Schools started out, and should return, to locally funded entities, with little assistance from the federal government. They should reflect the best of the community. The reason that charter schools are so popular in places like Oakland is because of the frustration with the school districts. I know that Oakland has been riddled with scandals and has struggled with its ability to teach their kids. While at the same time, the Superintendent, in 2914 was given a $400,000 salary package. His staff, Oakland teachers, are paid far less than most in the Bay Area. Is the Superintendents job really that much harder and more important that the teachers who make about $60,000 a year?

This mismanagement of funds runs throughout Oakland’s school and eats away at the quality of education in the classroom. No wonder teachers and parents are disgusted enough with the education to start charter schools.

I have been a teacher for many years, working in both public and private schools. I can honestly say that I have met very few teachers that didn’t impress me with their drive and ability to manage large groups of kids, teach in between the many interruptions, and still be pleasant and kind to their students. Most are pretty amazing people. As they should be, most are excellent micro-managers. They have to be to keep each one of their 39+ kids safe and focused.

But I haven’t been impressed with most teachers’ ability to macro-manage. Thinking that throwing more money at schools is a constant theme in education, and always seems to be the first thought.

There is so much that is wrong with our schools that more money won’t come near solving. Each school district needs to step back, put down that hand reaching for a handout, and look at their own district. Social welfare programs won’t fix their problems. Money won’t fix their problems.

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